Taiwan is facing a serious problem with cancer, with the territory rated to have the highest rates of death caused by the disease in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the WHO's recent health statistics using Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALY) metrics, the percentage of deaths caused by cancer in Taiwan is over 28.1%. Other countries following on the list are Singapore (22.7%), Australia (18.8%), and China (16.6%), according to a report carried by Taiwan News.
Compared to statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the official number of people who died due to cancer in 2016 was 47,760, representing a rate of 27.7%. Among all cancer types, lung cancer and liver cancer remain the most prevalent causes of death.
A 2015 study estimated the annual economic loss in Taiwan due to cancer – not counting direct medical costs – at around NT$21.8 billion (US$727 million). Recognising the problem, Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare has set a target of reducing the mortality rate and premature death rate from cancer by 25% by 2020.